Alice Reyes first mounted 'Cinderella' in 1981. Photo by Jojo Mamangun
Culture Spotlight

Alice Reyes recreates 'Cinderella' to celebrate Ballet Philippines’ 50th Season

The stage icon collaborated with two other National Artists—Francisco Feliciano and the late Salvador Bernal—to mount this end-of-decade highlight. 
ANCX | Dec 02 2019

In Ballet Philippines' Golden Season, the company presents the ever-popular rags-to-riches tale of Cinderella.

This production sees nothing less than a collaboration of three National Artists: Choreography and direction by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes with the musical score of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky specially arranged by National Artist for Music Francisco Feliciano, and set and costume design by National Artist, the late Salvador Bernal. This ballet will be mounted by Nonoy Froilan, Ballet Philippines’ premier danseur for three decades, who has essayed leading roles in classical and contemporary ballet and has partnered with world-renowned prima ballerinas such as Margot Fonteyn and Yoko Morishita.

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Reyes takes the fairy tale written in 1812 by the German Grimm brothers Jacob and Wilhel and recreates it anew while remaining true to the story’s essence—that there is might and strength in kindness, great power in forgiveness, and that one must never give up on their dreams.

Guest artists Liza de la Fuente, a trailblazer in dance for the last 25 years and founding member of the Association of Ballet Academies, Philippines and Australian-based Novy Bereber, one of the country’s leading choreographers of his generation, will both be playing the Widow Brunhilda.

Liza de la Fuente will take on the role as the Widow Brunhilda, Cinderella’s stepmother; Mario “Butch” Esperanza will be playing the Prime Minister.

Another guest artist, Mario Esperanza will be taking on the role of Prime Minister. Bereber and Esperanza have graced the CCP Main Stage as former Ballet Philippines company members.

Two matinee shows will be narrated by Liliane “Tats” Rejante Manahan, a surface decorator/restorer for wall paintings involved in advocacy work for built heritage preservation as chairperson of the Heritage Conservation Society and representative of the International Council on Monuments and Sites on National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ National Commission on Monuments and Sites. She became a director, writer, and producer from the mid 70s up to the late 80s, and is currently a contributor to many publications. Her involvement in dance history serves as proof of her unwavering support for dance and the arts.

 

An array of talent

Lead dancers Denise Parungao and Jemima Reyes who danced Odile/Odette in Ballet Philippines’ 50th Season opening production Swan Lake will be taking on roles of the Ugly Stepsisters, demanding highly awkward dancing and comedic interpretations. Just as striking are Victor Maguad and Eugene Obille, who both had just played Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake last August. will now tackle the roles of Griselda and Prunella with Bereber as Brunhilda.

Reyes shares that she originally stayed away from casting male dancers in these roles as that was done so successfully by Frederick Ashton for the Sadler Wells Ballet. She wanted to feature the comedic talents of our company members then—Edna Vida, Malu Rivera, and Hazel Sabas. "Today, we have such a strong array of male and female dancers with incredible talent and tremendous technical skills,” she says. “Why not take this opportunity to challenge the dancers—both female and male, to take on roles that demand so much more than the usual roles they have already done, with a completely different set of acting skills that can only deepen their own artistry?”

Liliane “Tats” Rejante Manahan will be the Narrator; Novy Bereber will take on the role as the Widow Brunhilda.

Alice Reyes first choreographed and directed Cinderella in 1981 for Ballet Philippines with lead dancers Maricar Drilon, Gina Mariano, Cecile Sicangco, Nonoy Froilan, Robert Medina, and Brando Miranda. Her vision back then was to simply mount the most enchanting show for her very own children and the ballet audience. Today, Reyes wears multiple hats as National Artist, Ballet Philippines’ co-founder, artistic director, and choreographer, while continuing to inspire this generation’s dancers to become the grandest versions of themselves. Just on the heels of Ballet Philippines’ successful and sold-out performances of Swan Lake and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella will be the third offering in the company’s 50th Season.

Cinderella runs from December 6 to 15 at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets are available at TicketWorld. For more information, call the CCP Box Office at 8832-3704, or the Ballet Philippines Box office at 8551-1003.